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The Top 10 Highest-paid Athletes in 2022

The world of sports is changing, and the salaries of athletes are going up. With the help of endorsements and other business ventures, these athletes are making more money than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore who the highest-paid athletes in 2022 will be. We’ll also see how much they make on and off the field, what their net worth is, as well as their current salary. The list is expected to include superstars such as LeBron James, Tom Brady, Neymar Jr etc.

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo $80.9millon

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo. Renders his services to Milwaukee Bucks. Image credit: IMD

Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka Greek Freak, is one of the most talented NBA players of his generation. With a wingspan that measures 6 feet 11 inches and a frame that can support up to 265 pounds, Giannis is an agile passer with an innate ability to get inside the paint virtually untouched.

He led the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA to a championship in 2021.

The 28-year-old signed a five-year contract worth $228 million with the Milwaukee Bucks last two years with an option to opt out in the fourth year.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA MVP for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons and also won best defensive player of the year in 2019.

The Greek pockets $41million from endorsement deals from top brands such as Nike, Google, TCL, Meta etc. And Milwaukee Bucks have no problem adding around $39.9miilion for his services to the club.

9. Tom Brady. $83.9million

TAMPA, FLORIDA – JANUARY 16: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Tom Brady is a football player who has won seven Super Bowl trophies and three NFL MVP awards. He began his career with the New England Patriots, who drafted him in 2000 out of Michigan. Tom Brady has been the quarterback for the Patriots since 2001 and he is regarded as one of their iconic quarterbacks of all time.

However, in 2020, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady popularly known as Tom Brady made a move to the Buccaneers that the media tagged as “shocking”.

The 40-year-old has made riches for himself both on and off the field. His endorsement earnings outweigh what the field has to offer as of 2022. Top brands such as T-Mobile, Under Armour, Wheels Up, and FTX are all sponsoring the good work of the Michigan graduate.

The American walks away with $52million from endorsement deals and $31.9 from on the field.

8. Canelo Alvarez $90 million

Canelo Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez is a professional boxer and current WBC, Lineal and Ring Magazine Light Middleweight Champion. He is currently ranked as the world’s best active boxer.

Saul Alvarez is a Mexican professional boxer. His real name is Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan. At the age of 13, he started boxing in the amateur division. He won gold medals at age of 15, a year after winning a silver medal in the division.

Canelo then became a professional boxer since no one will fight him in the amateur division.

Canelo Vs Gennadiy via DAZN Youtube Channel

Oscar De La Hoya’s company, Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN signed a $365 million deal with Canelo Alvarez to cover 11 fights over five years. The first fight took place on December 15th 2018 with Rocky Fielding in New York.

The Mexican’s purse gets better with an $85 million on-the-field takeaway while endorsement deals earn him only $ 5 million.

Canelo Alvarez’s legacy is impressive but his financial legacy is just as good. Alvarez, who has a net worth of around $90 million, reportedly made $85 million from his fights against Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant. He also has a lucrative partnership with Hennessy and owns a taco restaurant in New York City.

7. Roger Federer

Roger Federer is an internationally acclaimed tennis player from Switzerland. He has won a total of 19 Grand Slam titles, the most in history for a male tennis player. Alongside his philanthropic activities such as setting up the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003 and numerous other charity events, he has earned a gigantic amount of money from his profession.

Roger Federer signed a 10-year contract with Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo in 2018. The deal is worth $300 million and will see him wear Uniqlo apparel for the next decade.

It is believed that the athlete’s endorsements and sponsorships are by far ‘unmatched by any athlete as he pockets $90million from such deals.

His foundation has raised more than $50 million to educate over 1.5 million children in Africa, since its establishment.

These organisations and brands make the $90million a reality. They are Barilla, Credit Suisse Group (ADS), JURA, Lindt & Sprungli, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Mercedes-Benz, NetJets, On, RIMOWA, Rolex, Sunrise Communications AG, Switzerland Tourism, Uniqlo, Wilson Sporting Goods.

6 Kevin Durant $92.1million

Kevin Durant is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association. He played for Oklahoma City from 2007 to 2016, with a one-year stint in Seattle, and then returned to Oklahoma City before becoming a free agent again in 2017.

Durant has won an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, four scoring titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards, and five scoring championships. He was also a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team that won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and bronze at the 2012 London Olympics. In 2007, Durant became one of four players to enter the NBA straight from high school in its then-50-year history when he was selected as the second overall pick by Oklahoma City.

KD in action.

Popular and accurate Spotrac estimates that Kevin Durant has made $303 million in pay alone throughout his career, and Celebrity Net Worth believes that he will have a net worth of $200 million in 2021 after earning an additional $150 million in endorsement fees.

The twelve-time All-Star has invested more than 75 times through his business, Thirty Five Ventures, many of them in start-ups like Acorns, Robinhood, Andbox, and Rubric.

With recent additions of contracts with Coinbase, NBA Top Shot, and Weedmaps, the 12-time All-Star now earns over $40 million from sponsors.

5. Stephen curry $92.8million

The 13-year NBA veteran has already amassed a long record of achievements deserving of the Hall of Fame, including three NBA championships, two MVPs, eight All-Star Game selections, and four first-team All-NBA honours, among many other things. Curry has made the most 3-pointers ever made and is already regarded as the best shooter of all time.

Stephen Curry earned $92.8 million in 2022, ranking No. 5 on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid sportsmen. His salary is $45.7 million, and his off-court earnings total $47 million.

Curry reportedly makes between $30 million and $40 million from sponsorships annually in addition to his NBA pay, according to estimates.

Curry has business relationships with companies including Under Armour, Nike, and TCL. He has also invested in the creation of products with TCL.

4. Neymar Jr $95 million

Neymar Jr. is a Brazilian footballer who plays for French giant Paris Saint Germain. He is the most expensive footballer of all time, with a transfer fee of 263 million euros in 2017.

Neymar signed a contract on August 2 transferring him to Paris Saint-Germain in France. Neymar was paid a record-breaking $1.02 million each week, or $53 million annually, according to the terms of the agreement.

Neymar’s endorsement revenue earns him almost $70 million annually. Neymar made $90 million between June 2017 and June 2018, of which $20 million came from endorsements and $70 million from pay and incentives. Between June 2018 and June 2019, he made about the same amount of money.

On the field, the forward walks away with $70million a month and $25million in sponsorships from top brands such as DAZN, Epic Games, Flutter Entertainment, Konami, Meta, Netflix, Puma, Qatar Airways, Qatar National Bank.

3. Christian Ronaldo $115 million

Christian Ronaldo is one of the most famous names in football and has been since his debut with Sporting Lisbon at the age of 18. He has gone on to become one of the best players in his position, scoring 451 goals in 638 matches.

He changed teams in August 2021, playing for Manchester United after leaving Juventus, where he had previously played from 2003 to 2009.

Ronaldo, a five-time FIFA player of the year, broke the record for the most money earned in a lifetime by a team athlete in 2020. Exceeding $ 1 billion in career earnings.

The Portuguese have locked down a lifetime contract with one of the big brands in sports, Nike. And also pockets sponsorship money from Delivery Hero, Herbalife, MTG, and Unilever.

He makes $60 million on the pitch and $55 million off the field.

2. LeBron James $121.2 million

LeBron James is one of the most successful athletes of all time. He has won the NBA championship a record 3 times, led his team to 4 consecutive finals appearances and won 2 Olympic gold medals.

The contract extension comes after James achieves another goal. According to Forbes, he achieved billionaire status earlier this year, becoming the first active NBA player to do so.

James’ $1.2 billion net worth consists of money from endorsement deals, business ventures, and his entertainment production firm in addition to his NBA salary.

James was approaching the end of his Lakers contract, which will pay him $44.5 million in the 2022–2023 season. He will earn an estimated $46.7 million thanks to the agreement for the 2023–24 campaign.

It includes a player’s option for a third season, giving James the choice to either sign a contract extension or join another team for the 2024–25 season.

1. Lionel Messi $130 million

Lionel Messi is one of the most recognized and successful football players in the world. The Argentine has won seven FIFA Ballons d’Or and three European Golden Shoes, among other accolades. He has been awarded ten La Liga titles, five Copa del Rey titles, three UEFA Champions League titles, and two Club World Cup titles.

The Argentine had to join his old mate Neymar at PSG when Barcelona announced to him that they could not extend his contract due to financial losses due to the impact of Covid-19.

He agreed to receive $20 million a year in endorsement fees from the fan engagement app Socios in March 2022.

In 2019, he established his clothing brand and opened his first store, the Messi Store, in Barcelona. He has a lifetime contract with Adidas as well.

His sponsors include: Adidas, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cirque du Soleil, Gatorade, Hard Rock Cafe Inc., Konami, Mastercard, Ooredoo, Pepsi, PepsiCo, Socios.com, YPF

Bottom line

This list was referenced from Forbes’s top 50 highest-paid athletes in 2022.

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